This has been about as rough and tumble a year as can be imagined in our political arena. Suicide hotlines saw 2.5 times more calls this past November compared to last. Emergency rooms are seeing increased rates of anxiety– and depression-related symptoms like stomach pains, headaches, lethargy, sleeping less, eating more, etc.
Conservative supporters are anxious about how they’re perceived by family, friends and coworkers. Progressives worry about how their lives will ever be the same in a Republican-dominated political system. No matter who you are, our American society is in turmoil and the stress you feel is real.
Anxiety and depression are one side of the coin, and anger is the other. Many feel so outraged they make their world ever smaller, unfriend people on social media, ostracize family with whom they disagree, and use vitriolic language offensive enough to drive others away. What can we do?
First, we must recognize all of us need to communicate our struggles more effectively. Anger and frustration are the responses we have when we feel unheard. Take a look at my Anger Roadmap.
- Was what I heard/experienced done maliciously, deliberately, and with intent to harm me?
- If no, then perhaps I’m getting angry for reasons I need to better understand and need to think on it further.
- If yes, the go to the next question.
- Is it bad enough to be worth my continued attention?
- If no, then take time to do some self-soothing until I can move on.
- If yes, then go to the next question.
- Do I have a reasonable and effective response to this offense?
- If no, then as much as I’d like to rage further it will only hurt me in the end. Go do some self-care behaviors.
- If yes, then go do it! But make sure that the response not only helps me but also does no harm to someone else.
Depression, anxiety, and anger may be more than you can handle on your own. Do you need more tools for self-soothing? Want to develop your ability to communicate assertively and transparently? We all could use some help processing those things in our lives that overwhelm us and lead us to feel out of control. So don’t be afraid to seek that help. We’re all in this together.
By Andrew Walen, LCSW-C, LICSW, CEDS - Founder and CEO at Embrace Counseling Services. If you would like to get in touch with Andrew please call 1-877-651-1841.