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A therapist's take on how to deal with the current bullshit

Hey gang, nearly every single person I've been talking with is acutely aware right now of a feeling that the world is not a safe place for them. I've been feeling this too. I'm having periods of anxiety and fear for my friends and loved ones, and my own personal safety. Whether or not it's realistic, I feel and we feel that a war is coming. Images of violence and starvation seem to be sharpening in focus.

Some, I expect including some reading this, feel that what I just said is hysterical. To that I say, the war is *already happening*. Today. It's not visible and tangible (for most of us), but whether or not it ends up there, it is happening internally, right now. Many of us feel that this is true in our bones.

At this point, typically, the dialogue turns to some version of "we're all gonna die" or "look at those evil people over there, how can this happen", or maybe even "well I guess I better go make some phone calls to my reps and try to prevent something worse from happening".

None of this is immediately useful. (Some of it is worse than useless.)

Here's what we DO need to say. We have a duty to each other. We have a duty not to pretend everything is fine. We have a duty to come out of the closet and speak to each other, to say “you’re not alone, I feel that too, I’m scared, I’m angry, I’m heartbroken”. Community is essential now. We need to know and trust and feel where the helpers are, where the army is behind us. We need to know there is good in the world too, and make it just as visible as the harm.

This is a risk. You will need to make yourself visible, and therefore vulnerable. Find a way to show your secret signs to others anyway.

Do not betray yourself. Do not pretend to be other than what you are, do not closet yourself, do not make yourself less radical. This is the fight you’ve been preparing yourself for.

Do allow yourself to take turns. When fighting hurts, when it seems like there is no hope, you are the one who needs help. In asking for help, you create the opportunity for others to be the helpers, and we all need to know that that is part of what we are too.

We have a duty not to wallow or become paralyzed. We cannot allow ourselves the indulgence of believing that all hope is lost. If that happens, connect with someone else who remembers. And find a foothold. Something you can do, even if it’s just talking with yet another person who needs to know they’re not alone

And, don’t forget to use your grounding skills.

-Kerry Pinnisi

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