I am so tired of feeling angry all the time, and I am so angry about feeling tired all the time. Can anyone else relate? I have a feeling I am not alone in this.
I am not living my best life, and I am not being my best self. I have reset my expectations. I constantly practice self-care. I have both meditated and medicated. I have gotten acupuncture regularly. I have never worked this hard just to feel ok…
Despite all my efforts in self-care, I have never felt this emotionally spent and physically exhausted in my life. I have read all sorts of articles that describe this fatigue – so I know this is very real, and that there are valid reasons for it. It is just a matter of time until someone comes up with a clever phrase for the special kind of fatigue that we are experiencing in 2020. It is way more than “pandemic fatigue.” The combination of the pandemic, a divisive election, and racial unrest is just overwhelming at times. The wear and tear on my psyche, on my mental and emotional well being is palpable.
I know almost immediately when I am out of balance. I am edgy, am easily irritated and quick to snap (at Jerry since he is the one with me 24/7), and do not sleep well. Lately, I have become quick to anger – and I often feel rage. My rage is usually caused by our current administration, and sometimes caused by the people who support it. Sometimes – it is caused by people I know. Sometimes – those people are family or friends.
I could try to turn it “off” and survive (I think of this as similar to “turning off my humanity” for any Vampire Diaries fans). My ability to turn it off would be a manifestation of my privilege, and I no longer want to act from my privilege. I want things to be different – I want a different president, I want racial justice, I want to preserve our earth for future generations, and I want strong leadership, and a cooperative society to help us survive the COVID 19 pandemic. This is a lot. I am not going to give up hope, but the struggle in fighting for these things is very real.
Almost every single day, at any given moment, I feel more frustration, anger and rage – and underneath it, is fear and sadness. I am truly scared that things will continue to get worse before they get better. I truly feel that the election is going to culminate in a constitutional crisis, and that the traditional peaceful transition of power is not likely to be peaceful. In my lifetime, the stakes have never been this high…so to turn off my “caring” is just not a possibility for me. However, acting from my fear and rage is not working for me, nor is it helping to achieve anything that I support.
I care very deeply about our country – I care for our military and their families, I care for the our civil servants including our police and firefighters, for our healthcare workers, for our teachers, for people with disabilities, for dreamers, for BIPOC, for LBGTQ – ALL at the same time.
For example, it is possible – and in my opinion “right” – to support the police while at the same time supporting police reform. I support Black Lives Matters, while at the same time denouncing rioting and also denouncing the brutal use of force against unarmed people of color. The perception that this is an either/or has only divided us. When did we forget that many things can be true at the same time?? When did we start to accept “alternative facts” instead of reckoning with the truths of what is happening in our world? When did we forget that the answers are usually between the extremes, and that we can get to some answers through respectful discussion?
The rhetoric I see around this on a daily basis only feeds my frustration, anger and resentment. It is soooo tempting to lash out – to let the anger and fear control me. It is so easy to forward a tweet, meme, video, article or whatever that only add to the noise. I know because I have done it – many times.
Anger is like a drug. It makes me feel powerful – and can give me some fuel in the tank – but when I act from anger, I am left more depleted, more empty, and end up not only damaging relationships, but also failing to gain any kind of possible momentum for the causes I support. It is a false power as a friend pointed out to me…making us feel that we have control when we do not. It is not sustainable. And while I know this, it is still incredibly hard for me to channel it in a healthy way. And from what I see around me every moment of every day, we are ALL struggling with this.
Remember this powerful quote by Ruth Bader Ginsburg:
“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”Ruth Bader Ginsburg
I am trying to do this!!! And I definitely do not always get it right. Finding the middle ground is part of the answer. Acting from love instead of fear or anger is a HUGE part of the answer. I have learned that love is a renewable energy – and am trying to remember that in those moments of anger and rage.
My anger has been spilling over a little too easily lately, but I have recognized it and am working through it. I even decided to try medication again because I recognize that I could use some help especially over the next few months with my fear and anxiety heightened more than usual.
Maintaining healthy boundaries is also a major part of the answer. Yes, I will try to be kind. Yes, I will try to be more “human.” Yes, I will try to act from love instead of fear and anger.
But – to quote Glennon Doyle from Untamed,
“I will not stay, not ever again – in a room or conversation or institution that requires me to abandon myself.”Glennon Doyle, Untamed
This means I will not be quiet just to make other people comfortable. I am not about to practice toxic positivity and ignore what is happening around me, nor will I silence myself to preserve someone else’s feelings.
However, I will work hard to find the right balance in all of this – and I will continue to fight for the things that I care about – and I will continue to try to do this in a way that will encourage others to follow.