Post-Election Care: What To Do After You’ve Lost Your Faith In Humanity

Image Credit: Kate Williams via Unsplash

I cast my vote for Hillary yesterday morning. And I cried. I marked my ballot and cried at the possibility that yesterday we’d elect our first female president. I cried at the thought that my daughters would know a world where they would be shown they can do anything. I cried at the thought that my sons would see a capable woman run the most powerful country in the world.

Today I cry for humanity. The bottle of champagne I had chilled and ready to pop in celebration sits untouched. My 21-year-old daughter sits near me, solemn. She has lost hope.

The thing we were afraid would happen has happened.

The highest office in the land will occupied by one of the most racist, bigoted, horrible humans it’s ever known. Our country has elected a human that reflects the worst possible values on the spectrum of human emotion. Things seem hopeless.  

I can come back and fight, and I will, but today I need to just regroup. 

I don’t know what I’m going to tell my children.

I fear for my friends of color, my friends who are “other.”

I am outraged yet paralyzed.

There is so so much work to be done. I know that I have to do it.

But I just can’t. Not last night at 2:30 AM, when my husband woke afraid for the future of our economy, for the future of this country. Not this morning when I have to figure out a way to tell my small children who won, when I have to figure out a way to explain to my big children what this means for our country.

I just can’t do it today. So I’m going to do some other things. Things that are for me, for my family, for our well-being.

I can come back and fight, and I will, but today I need to just regroup. If you do too, here are some things you can do.

Drink Water.

Stress causes everything to metabolize faster. Including water. Don’t drink what you would drink in a regular day (which probably isn’t enough anyway), drink twice that.

Eat.

Yeah. Eat. Even stress eat. Eat your feelings. Go ahead. Is the only thing you can count on right now chocolate chip cookie dough? Fine.

Listen to your body.

If it says sleep, and you can, go ahead. If you can’t sleep, rest. If you have children you need to care for, who need you to keep going, take a day with them. Watch movies. Go to the park. Nap when they nap.

Unplug.

The internet will be full of anger today, on both sides. Those who voted against humanity will be angry at those who are saddened by this. Folks hurt by the idea of having someone so vile as president may also be using the internet as a sounding board and place for venting.

Be mindful of this. Other folks' hurt and anger may become your own. This is an effective way to motivate us to take action, but you may not be able to take action if you become too overwhelmed to care for yourself. So, leave Facebook. Stop reading Twitter.

Check out of the news.

And stop reading articles, too. Even this one, if you need. A lot of folks will be writing about ways to do better or be better, ways to cope, ways to take action. Be mindful of your feelings as you ingest this information.

Understand that is this grief.

This is a loss like any other loss. Allow yourself to feel it. This is how you will come out the other side.

Reach out.

There is strength in numbers. Now more than ever, we need to know we aren’t alone. Reach out to those you love and unite in sadness and fear.

You are not alone.

The most profound thing that has happened for me since last night is that people I know from everywhere, literally all around the world, have spoken to me. They have shared their fears. They have shared their own midnight panic stories. They have lamented the state of this country.

This speaks volumes. People are united in pain and fear. It’s not the ideal circumstance under which to become united, but it’s unity just the same. We will use this unity for good.

As long as we have fight left in us, we will fight. We are not alone.

Reminder: The National Suicide Hotline number is 1-800-273-8255. You can also chat online 24/7. Please stay safe and keep going. We need all the good in the world we can manage right about now, and you are definitely part of that.

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