Caring for chronic trumpache
To find out about how to manage the unrelenting heartache, headache and pain of this Trump presidency, talk to someone who manages chronic pain.
I have chronic migraine disease, which means I have a only handful of hours per month without pain. The pain varies, and I'm not always collapsed on the bed with an ice pack in a dark room, but every single day, I'm managing pain.
Yesterday, while fighting a bad migraine and preparing for a meal and meeting with the women's spirituality group I've been in for fifteen years, I suddenly realized that a lot of my skills for managing pain were assisting me with my Chronic Trumpache. So I thought I'd share my strategies and tools with others who may be, as I am, in constant pain about the state of governance in this country right now.
Chronic pain gets you down. And all the well-meaning though scream-worthy advice about just getting over it (or it will get better soon, or just give it time) makes not one scrap of difference. Treat your Chronic Trumpache seriously, intentionally, but without wallowing in it.
1. Turn off the radio, TV, and electronic screens. Go news-free for a while. Walk around, listen to music, smile at the cute kid in the stroller.
2. Balance being busy with being slothful. Whatever slothful looks like for you - a guilty-pleasure book or magazine, a bubble bath in the middle of the day, a couple hours in the sports bar (drinking in moderation, of course), meditation, prayer.
3. Get exercise. I'm better able to manage my pain since I joined the Y three years ago - even though I don't get there as often as I wish I could. Exercise doesn't make the pain go away, or even lessen it. But it raises my low spirits and strengthens my muscles and enhances my self-esteem - all important in pain management.
Chronic pain can be isolating. Ranting on facebook or twitter or in an email may help a bit, but having a friend who understands and who will have a cuppa with you when you're stuck is much, much better. For Chronic Trumpache, there are also outlets for resistance and action that will help in reducing those feelings of helpless rage.
Here are links to the action pages of a few sites I like:
Organizing for Action
Southern Poverty Law Center
Your self-care goal for chronic pain is not to eliminate it, but to manage its effects on your body and your spirit. Even moving to Canada will not eliminate your Chronic Trumpache. So it's best to accept that it's affecting you. Your anxiety, fretting and agonizing only make it worse, only tighten your muscles and fracture your spirit, adding stress upon stress upon stress. When you accept that it's chronic, you are free to choose your self-care.
Then you can go back over the list above (turn off the news, balance busy and quiet, get exercise, meet a friend, resist and act) and begin actually managing the pain of Chronic Trumpache.
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This blog chronicles my work and thoughts as a writer. - Carol D. Marsh