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The Current Environment on My Mental Health

We’re about a week and a half away from the midterms and there’s still plenty of uncertainty out there. Some indicators show the economy is improving slightly, but inflation is still high, as is the price of fuel, and it appears the dynamics in the U.S. legislature is going to change in favor of Republicans. That last part only means that there will be a revisit of laws and policies that were passed by the Democrats over the past two years that will be challenged, which will lead to more uncertainty in the future when we vote for president.

The current environment is stressful. You have the war between Russia and Ukraine, natural disasters costing local governments in the millions to rebuild. There’s the protests in Iran led by some of the strongest, bravest women I’ve ever seen, among other political events happening around the world. It’s enough to want to make anyone just sit behind a locked door and hibernate from the real world for awhile.

All of these events can fall under either good or bad. Ukraine is suffering under Russia’s attacks – that’s real bad. Iranians are fighting for their rights and dignity – that’s good. Natural disasters are destroying infrastructure – that’s bad. The economy can’t make up its mind about whether it’s improving or not- that’s awful.

In the midst of all this, one has to wonder what it’s all doing to our mental health. Just as I’m about to feel good about a positive event in my life, flashing headlines or an unexpected email knocks me off my feet. I find myself in a roller coaster of emotions in a span of 24 hours.

I had a discussion recently with a woman from my generation expressing the same feelings and she suddenly turned to me and asked, “How do you do it?” I wasn’t sure what she was talking about until she pointed at me and said, “You. How do you do it?” Somehow I had given this poor creature the impression that I had my emotions in check and my life in order.

Kidding aside, I was flattered. Here I thought I was walking around like a frazzled stray cat caught in a storm, when apparently I was giving the impression that I had my shit together.

First thing I did was explain to her that I’m in the same place she was. Then I told her what may be helping me is my deliberate intention to live in the moment. I practice mindfulness daily I explained. I don’t dwell on the past – well, at least I work very, very hard at not living in the past – and I try not to plan too far into the future. I also explained that I spend a lot of time alone writing, reading, and reflecting to keep my head screwed on right.

This process works about 95% of the time. As for the remaining 5% of that time when I lose my cool, I call my peeps and just let it out. Such as today, when I looked at my sample ballot again and saw how many candidates I’ll have to vote for on November 8th – most of whom I can’t find any valid information on.

I’m relaxing on my bed as I’m writing, with the quilt snuggled closely around me to protect me from the October chill. I have my laptop on my lap, propped up on a pillow, and I’m feeling fine again. I spent some time reminding myself that this was all life happening and that in time, the tough times will pass and I will be looking forward to many good things: like a strong economy, the exciting debates and analyses that follow elections and try to explain voter sentimentality, and how this will all impact me and the country in the future. Somehow, I feel grateful again.

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