I was complaining to my shrink recently that I was not sleeping well since Donald Trump got elected president.
She reassured me that I am not the only American waking up at 4 a.m., unable to return back.
“It’s a public health crisis,” said Dr. R., my psychotherapist, indicating she and her colleagues have never seen anything like this. “People feel anxious and tired, like what nightmare is going to happen today?”
Fifty-seven percent of Americans say the nation’s political climate is a very or somewhat significant source of stress, according to a report by the American Psychological Association.
I have labeled my anxiety “TPSD: Trump presidency stress disorder,” and I’ve come up with various coping methods. We liberals must find our own ways through this stressful time.
What works for me is going to my social-justice church, Middle Collegiate Church in the East Village. There, I’m lifted up by song, dance, prayer and preaching.
The Sunday after the November presidential election, the classical choir rendered “Jesus is a Rock in a Weary Land,” and the gospel choir closed with a rousing version of “We Shall Overcome.” I always leave the sanctuary feeling recharged.
During the past six weeks, I have attended five demonstrations and plan to participate in others. I’m invigorated by the diversity of the crowds. The range of ages, races, religions and ethnic backgrounds gives me hope. I gave a thumbs-up to Muslim students fixing their makeup in the bathroom at Borough of Manhattan Community College as they got ready to attend a protest.
I have taught at BMCC for three decades, and never experienced this much student activism.
I confess that I’m addicted to Twitter, where I commune with other members of #TheResistance.
It is reassuring that so many people see through Trump’s vitriol. Plus, Twitter connects me to articles I have missed. I am reading compulsively, trying to understand what to expect from the White House and how to resist.
Comedy and music also sustain me. I laugh at “Saturday Night Live” skits, Samantha Bee, John Oliver, Seth Meyers and many more. I listen to protest music from Alicia Keys to Jefferson Airplane. Music from my hippie college days seems extra relevant now as Grace Slick belts out, “Look what’s happening out in the streets. Got a revolution. ”
If nothing else soothes me, there is always wine. And my ace in the hole: becoming an European Union citizen (I qualify through my mother) and moving to Ireland for the duration of the Trump presidency.
Kate Walter is the author of “Looking for a Kiss: A Chronicle of Downtown Heartbreak and Healing.”