Remember back in 2016 when everyone couldn’t wait for the year to be over because oh my god it was the worst year ever,? Then 2017 came along and was all hahaha up yours pal, you ain’t seen nothing yet? That was a trip, right?
I don’t see as many of those “just let this year die already” pleas as I did last year. Last year – at least until the US election – there was sadness surrounding celebrity deaths, and there were too many of them, of course. There was also that election, but until the ultimate awful thing happened, no one really believed it would. And when it did, people still held out hope. That everything would be ok. That there wouldn’t be chaos. That there wouldn’t be extreme hate. That there wouldn’t be fucking nazis running rampant and running a large, powerful country.
But there it is. It’s all happening in the worst way possible. And it’s horrible to witness and it’s much more horrible for Americans. American women, American POC, new Americans…you know the list of people it’s awful for, I don’t need to tell you. The list of people it ISN’T awful for is much shorter. Rich. White. Men.
This is not news, these are not revelations, I am not being profound or even original here. You’re all just as aware as I am, just as outraged as I am, and just as ready to burn it all down as I am. Perhaps even more.
But now it’s time for me to admit that while I know it’s not all about me, and I know that I actually have it pretty good from where I sit, based on who I am, based on where I live and all that, that this year has brought me the closest to absolute gutting anxiety, stress, and levels of depression that I have never before experienced. Ever. And I have had some bad years, trust. But this one. Man, the feelings of rage and angst, sadness and depression have been unprecedented.
It’s not all about politics and the state of the world, I’ve had some personal challenges as well, but I do believe the end times in which we seem to live now have had a rotten effect on my brain and my emotions. And I have struggled this year to make sense of a LOT of things, with varying degrees of success.
I come from a very long line of people with stiff upper lips. People who just dealt. Coped. Kept calm and carried on. It’s a very hard thing to break, this feeling that you need to keep it all inside, to just keep on keeping on, smile though your heart is breaking, etc.
When you’ve always been admired for your strength, it can feel like betrayal to admit you’re struggling. Betrayal to yourself (I should be able to handle this, what’s wrong with me) and betrayal to your friends (You’re always so strong. I don’t know how you do it, I would be a mess in your position.)
This is not to imply that my friends and family would feel betrayed by my asking for help, this is 100% me not wanting to burden anyone with my problems. Like I said, it’s a hard thing to shift.
And not to go all It’s a Wonderful Life on you, but I think we can all agree that if George Bailey had been able to send a group text like “WTF my crazy uncle lost 8 grand on me, can u guys help me out til the new year? Thx pals” he might have saved himself a lot of agony.
And while I have been George Bailey in the past, and in some ways continue to be George Bailey, I am working on it. Taking care of myself and making my needs a priority is new. Telling people I’m suffering, struggling, not dealing well is also new. It’s baby steps. And the people who love me get it, and I am so grateful for them.
2017 has been, we can all agree, an absolute trash fire in a lot of ways, but good people can still get you through. Find your good people and let them know. Check in with them on the reg, and find out how they’re doing. See them as often as you possibly can. Eat delicious food with them, have lots of laughs and drinks. Take copious amounts of selfies with them and host impromptu dance parties.
And when you’re struggling, ask them for their help. Don’t pretend you can go it alone, don’t pretend you’re fine when you’re not. Your people want to help you, and you need to let them help you.
That last paragraph was for me, mostly. But it’s yours too, if you need it.