Friday Question of the Day – What is your level of anxiety/happiness these days?

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

The sunsets are still good, the Women’s March was terrific, Greenpeace’s resist sign seen behind the White House was a shot to the arm but so many conversations I have with folks are still filled dread. So I wanted to do a poll which gives me a better feel than the comments about how folks out there in PoPville are feeling. Let’s do this on a scale of 1-5. 5 being happiest and 1 being filled with dread. How are you feeling overall these days?

If you’d like to go deeper in the comments, I’d be curious to know if folks are able to compartmentalize how they feel. Like personally I feel great but I wake up terrified for the future of the country everyday…

147 Comment

  • You know things are getting rough when you wish that Kim and Kanye was still the biggest news story around!

  • I surround myself with pretty positive people,
    live in the city and still see the good in people even after last weekend. In the past, I had a
    Bout with depression and it’s always a struggle that never truely leaves oneself, but the only way to overcome is bounce back, do my best, be my best. If we all do our best, we will all do well in the next 4, or 8, or whoever is our Nation’s President.
    Been reading the Blog for years, it hurts reading the Rants And Raves over the past several months. I feel the pain too. If I can bounce back, then all of us can, we are a smart city

  • As a woman and a non-straight person, the recent rhetoric makes me want to throw up. I cried so many happy tears on the day the marriage equality decision came down. Being attacked in such an obvious and shitty way (not to mention the fact that almost half of states have zero housing or employment protections for lgbt individuals, meaning we can get fired or kicked out of our houses just by living our lives) has been really scary for someone who didn’t live through the AIDS crisis and was really too young to understand what happened to Matthew Sheppard.

    Not to mention, climate change, international relations, domestic policing. All of these things and so many others have me really worried.

  • Dow hits 20,000. Every one with a public and/or private pension should feel pretty great.

  • On a plane mid flight with a pilot who has never flown before, and half the plane is filled with crazy people. Terrified!

  • I have been a fed for over 10 years (started under Bush), and I have never seen so much fear, anxiety, and uncertainty in the career competitive service. Career management at my agency who have been there longer than I are visibly shaken. I have seriously been losing sleep over this transition.

  • binntp

    Uneasy. Depending on what happens to healthcare in this country in the next few months/years, I may be both out of a job and having to bear the burden of paying for family members’ healthcare needs. So while I’m appreciative of the Dow and my retirement funds going up, I’m just hoping the retirement will still be an option in a few decades.

  • I go back and forth between utterly terrified and uneasy, often multiple times a day, depending on how much attention I’m paying. This article posted yesterday is helpful, I just need to do a better job implementing all of the steps:

  • What are people doing to combat these feelings of terror and insecurity? I’m someone who, throughout my entire life and any challenge I’ve encountered, has always believed we’re better and stronger together. Against my own advice, all I want to do is jump ship and leave D.C.

    • That’s the thing – you may personally think it’s bad now. But in two years, there’s another election. Democrats have 23 of the 33 seats up for reelection in 2018 (5 are in states that voted for Romney and Trump). Right now, the Democratic Senators can filibuster – if Republicans pick up a handful of those 23 seats – there’s no more filibustering. THAT is terrifying.
      The House most certainly will not flip, but gains could at least be made.
      There’s also 20 governor races in 2018 – 13 of which are Republicans. Governors matter people – how do you think the House has gotten to be so Republican friendly? Oh yes, redistricting by state officials and approved by Republican governors.
      So you ask what you can do? If you are truly terrified, I’d suggest doing something to help in the 2018 elections – starting now. Even if you don’t live in one of the states or districts, there’s still things you can do to help.

    • Honestly, for me the only thing I can do is recommit myself to being a good citizen in my community – donate to charity, give time to important causes, make sure that this administration doesn’t hurt the truly vulnerable. Look for volunteer opportunities for organizations that matter to you. Doing just a little bit of good will make you feel less hopeless.

  • Same as you, Dan. And therefore can’t complete the survey.

    • Same here (though I picked “good” in the poll). Personally, everything is going fine – we’re healthy and happy, and had a serious enough health scare in the past that that’s more than enough. But when I read the news and try to digest the latest idiocy that 45 has suggested, I hit outraged frustration pretty easily. It’s a strange kind of cognitive dissonance.
      I do get a little frustrated with what I increasingly view as attention-seeking distress – those people who are just so dramatic and public about their level of upset that it can’t help but be perceived as, “Look at me, look at me, I am really upset about Donald Trump! See how unhappy I am?!?!” Just stop.

      • “attention-seeking” – that’s not about to change, though. Some people require a lot of attention to function, under Trump or otherwise.

      • Do you not understand that there are a lot of organizations doing lay offs right now? That people are facing serious uncertain times due to policies around foreign affairs or immigration? There are a lot of us who will lose our jobs. This isn’t a game of “look at me,” this is our reality. Have some empathy.

        • I don’t think that dcd is personally referring to people who are actually being laid off, people who could be questioned or deported, etc. – I think they’re more so referring to the “six figure Ivy League lawyer who hasn’t seen an actual tough day of their life that takes to Instagram to express their level of distress” crowd.

          • I will be perfectly honest. There will always be people who see their personal situation as being worse than anyone else’s even though they truly lack perspective on how great their lives are in comparison to others. There are also people who will always over-dranaticize everything. The people who do this are the people dcd is thinking of.

          • Like Propaganda Barbie and her “choosing to benefit from her choices instead of being a victim of her circumstances” or whatever tripe she spouted in her interview.
            I am ALSO proud of having been born on second base! Why did so many others choose to be born outside the ballpark?

          • A little more empathy and a little less perceived omniscience would be nice.
            Current events are causing emotional distress to people, and people’s real mental health reactions are not perfectly calibrated to their level of actual immediate risk. People really are suffering anxiety, depression, grief, even if it is hard for someone who is wired differently to understand.
            Are some people attention seekers? Sure, always. But making comments like this can chill people who are having issues from speaking up, sharing, or seeking help, for fear of being viewed as an attention seeker. And people you judge as attention seekers may be suffering real mental health issues.
            Be a little more generous.

          • There’s nothing that bothers me more than giving excuses people based on “they don’t know any better” or they are “wired differently” (sounds a lot like alternative facts). I know plenty of people who grew up privileged that are great people, very aware and you wouldn’t know their background based on knowing them. I also know people who grew up privileged that are incredibly ignorant of the fact, don’t understand what other people go through, etc.
            If you’re posting on Instagram how hurt you are by Trump from you $3000/month apartment on 14th Street and then you are hurt by reading a comment on popville about people who do that – I mean, this again seems like problems that aren’t quite on the same level as people losing their jobs, facing deportation, etc.

          • HaileUnlikely

            I am inclined to agree with JohnH and with dcd (given his confirmation of what he meant in response to JohnH’s comment further up), though I recognize that these statements and my agreement with them may to some extent reflect that the apparently-privileged-yet-experiencing-acute-suffering crowd is just better at empathizing with those who are experiencing grave fear of job loss, loss of health care, deportation, etc., than we are. In the vast majority of cases I’m reasonably confident that that’s not it, but I recognize that such cases do exist.

          • I mean, I get why this is annoying. But also, I was outside DC for the weekend, and it was amazing to me how complacent everyone was. “Well, you win some you lose some — the pendulum swings both ways!” type logic, whereas I honestly believe the pendulum is about to launch off its track.
            It’s like people don’t know that apartheid in South Africa was the result of gerrymandering. That the policies Trump is contemplating were LITERALLY enacted by Hitler. What the f*, guys? I honestly don’t think it’s possible to be too alarmed. Frankly your six-figure ivy league lawyer probably knows this better than anyone, because they understand that our “checks and balances” work only to the extent that someone bothers to enforce the words written on reams of paper that have so far held our country together.

          • Totally agree anon. DC, to no one’s surprise, keeps up with politics a lot. That’s why I’ve referenced the Obama to Trump voters – these are people that don’t live in a big city and a big source of their news is watching the local news – or here and there seeing things online. They aren’t going to read the Washington Post website daily. And as we know, both the local and national news lasts 30 minutes – they don’t really get in-depth. So yeah, Trump’s overall message sounds positive and uplifting – even though it’s surrounded by very negative things.
            And there’s also a difference between complaining on Instagram (I started with Insta and I’ll end with Insta) and caring enough to actually do something. Saying you care, but not doing anything is not very productive either.

          • I think folks should look to come together on this rather than give each other a hard time for caring or worrying when there are legitimate things to care and worry about. I think it’s a good thing that even those who may not be personally impacted by the dumpster fire this presidency already has been speak up and state their concern and worry. I would imagine that the most vulnerable among us like to see those less vulnerable standing up and expressing concern, including those that may actually benefit from this presidency through, e.g., tax breaks. I would think empathy is generally a good thing, and yes, one can conceivably be distressed about the welfare of others without it just being wanted attention. I think the more people that stand on their soapbox, the more the message carries that we all should be concerned.

            Further, I’ve been worried what 45 and his election means for our democratic institutions and our world at large. I think it’s legit to be worried about what that means, even if I’m not someone at risk of losing my house or healthcare right now. I think I would be worried no matter what, but as a parent of a young child, I particularly worry. I worry about what her opportunities will be there for her and the rights she will, for example, if she is LGBT. Before this election, I naively thought her world would be even better than mine. I ultimately still think it will be, and I still hope it will be, but I now know I can’t take it for granted.

      • White privilege alert

        • Which part? I’ll readily concede that the first part of my post is in part the result of white privilege. But my low tolerance for feigned distress and attention seeking hysteria doesn’t have anything to do with white privilege.

  • I’m feeling pretty darn great! I won a game of Boggle last night. Admittedly, I cheated, but I still won!!!!!1

  • Terrified.

    It seems like we are headed full speed ahead towards an authoritarian government. A lot of the stuff Trump does is right out of the dictator playbook (threatening to jail opponents, making up facts, calling real news fake news, bullying intelligence agencies and then blaming it on the media, etc). I think people are being optimistic because it’s hard to perceive what’s happening because it’s happening in our own country. We’re inside the fishbowl. If you were watching this happen in another country you’d say “Hey! that country is unstable. They’re going to end up like Russia or Egypt real soon if they’re not careful”.

    Here’s something else I hear – “But our institutions are so strong. People won’t accept an authoritarian ruler. This can’t happen here.” NOPE. If our institutions were so strong an obstructionist, nihilistic, racist, radical group of maniacs hell bent on destroying the federal government wouldn’t have been able to hijack an entire party and we wouldn’t have a mentally unstable crazy person as president.

    • Yep, this. I know enough about history and have spent time in enough unstable/ failed states to see where we’re headed. It’s textbook, and it’s here now.
      My only hope is that DT proves to be enough of a impulsive brat that he threatens the futures of his supporters and they turn on him. He won’t self-regulate.

      • Yep. That is probably our only hope, because the Republicans who can actually stop him, aside from John McCain and Lindsey Graham, have proven themselves to be worthless power hungry swamp creatures who’s only interests are power and money.

        One specific fear I have is that the “3-5 undocumented voters” is about much more than just thedonald’s ego. I’ve been reading how this, and any subsequent bullshit investigation to try to back this claim, will be used to further tighten restrictions on voting and disenfranchise black/latino voters. BEYOND THAT, I fear that this is one of Bannon’s evil tricks. He gets Trump to continually say this over and over again. The right-wing propaganda machine gets more and more people believing it (many they already do). Then, in 4 years if Trump loses the election, he uses this as a pretext to simply not leave. By then so many people will believe it and he’ll have stocked the intelligence agencies and pentagon with his cronies that I’m actually worried this could happen.

        “But that couldn’t happen! Not in America, people wouldn’t stand for it!”

        WRONG. By then, especially if the Republicans nuke the filibuster, we won’t have a leg to stand on. We’ll just have to grin and bear it. AND THEN the fun really begins. Jailing opposition, seizing assets, etc.

      • What concerns me even more is that there seem to be a lot of members of the GOP who are not just tolerating Trump, but are actually introducing legislation to, for example, weaken the first amendment. Fox News has turned into state television. It’s just bizarro-land.

    • while i’m as disheartened as anyone about what’s happening right now, i think it’s very far off the mark to say we’re heading towards an authoritarian government. all the stuff you mention is beyond bad ((threatening to jail opponents, making up facts, calling real news fake news, bullying intelligence agencies and then blaming it on the media, etc), but keep in mind real authoritarians are actually killing journalists and perceived enemies. i have no sympathy for trump voters, they’re not itching to start offing journalists and political enemies (a few loud/crazy voices excepted) stop with the sky is falling crap. things are going to get bad, there will be giveaways to corporations/billionaires, the environment is going to get destroyed, international relations are going to tailspin, the working class is going to get screwed, but we are not living under a fascist dictatorship. it does a disservice to the resistance to talk this way bc it sounds crazy to the vast majority of americans. signed, someone who has also spent a lot of time in failed states

      • This is a cavalier attitude when the statements of the President and his advisors are directly in line with the most repressive authoritarian regimes – calling the press the opposition and telling them to shut up, personally enriching oneself, creating religious registries, etc. Obviously we’re not living in North Korea. But complacency is dangerous and concern / activism are warranted until the current threat recedes.

        • +1

          I strongly with disagree with the idea that a descent into authoritarianism is “sky is falling crap”.

          Trump voters may not have voted for him to act that way….but politicians don’t always keep campaign promises, especially not this one.

          I believe that the rot has set in, and has been festering for too long now. It may not be too late. We may not yet end up with a tin pot dictator, but a lot of the road signs make it seem like that’s where we’re heading.

        • don’t get me wrong, all that stuff is disturbing. but talk is talk, and i don’t foresee a journalist getting thrown in jail, even if they were told to shut up. the trump hotel violates the emoluments clause, but it’s not exactly throwing mark zuckerberg in prison for 10 years (a la Mikhail Khodorkovsky) or personal control of our major industries. authoritarianism is different from what’s happening. and of course democracy is fragile, but just want to put a reality check out there. i’m nervous too, but don’t think this talk is realistic or helpful.

          • Journalists ARE getting thrown in the jail– did you not see the news coverage from the inauguration.

          • 6 journalists accidentally included in round up of 230 rioters? C’mon, that’s an overly aggressive police response that happened to include journalists. Prosecutors charged everyone, journalists will prove they’re journalists, end of story. They shouldn’t have to go through this, for sure, it’s wrong on many levels. But it’s not a systematic persecution of journalists that ends in jail or death (

          • anon, it’s a progression. It doesn’t go from inauguration to killing journalists in a week (nor is killing journalists a prerequisite for an authoritarian or authoritarian-leaning government). It’s about normalizing the degradation of democratic institutions. It starts with making the media and facts the enemy, strongly controlling information dissemination within the government, and then providing access only to those who fall in line (Breitbart, Fox News). Once you have some significant percentage of the country believing complete lies from the propaganda machine, it starts to get easier to jail journalists, quash dissent, and do whatever terrible things you want. When you allege there’s widespread substantial voter fraud, if the public, the Congress, and states go along (whether because they believe the ridiculous conspiracy, see it politically favorable, or for whatever other reason), you may gain more power to control the vote, disenfranchising those that may vote against you.

            Again, these are incremental steps. There’s a lot of good literature about how this has happened in past — it involves normalizing ridiculousness one step at a time. I don’t know if we will go all the way, and I’m optimistic that we won’t. But I think folks here are saying we’re on a path, not necessarily that we are at the destination. To me, it takes being aware that we’re on this path, and making more aware of it, to keep us from that destination.

            And finally, one thing to remember. This ridiculousness is happening when things are relatively good and normal — economy is, and has been growing, and while there have been terrorists threats, we are now 15 years removed from 9/11. What happens when something horrible happens and everyone is scared? Do you trust that the Trump administration will tell the truth about what happened, particularly if they blew it (e.g., had intel and ignored it)? Do you think that this crazy man in charge will be deliberate with the facts and careful and cautious about how he responds? I think it’s fair to say no.

          • JB, this was incredibly well said and is precisely how I feel about this situation.
            In the spirit of trying to be objective, I do think it’s interesting to reflect on how things that seemed fine when Obama was in the white house are suddenly scary. The news media really does distort things – coverage of the Clinton campaign vs. Bernie, for example, was reprehensible in the NY Times (which by the way is owned by a Mexican billionaire). There was a vast expansion of the security state. Police departments across the country militarized. Millions of illegal immigrants were deported. There already is a huge wall across the border with Mexico. We have a higher proportion of our population in jail than any other country. The war on drugs is a thinly-veiled excuse to criminalize black people. Mexican drug dealers are saturating the country and driving opiate overdose deaths to all-times high rates. Even liberal sources agree that 700,000 or more jobs were lost due to NAFTA.
            Meanwhile, relentless attention was paid to the issue of whether a handful of schoolchildren would be allowed to use restrooms that most of society believes should be organized by biological gender. I could argue that this was just as much of a distraction from the real issues as Trump’s bloviating insanity currently is to the real things he’s done. So, on the slight chance the Trump administration blows up (in a good way) and people are jarred into recognizing the danger we approached by electing him, we do some real reflection on what we want out of a society and how much power the government has. I’m not optimistic on that point however.

          • facts — I agree with you. There’s been a lot that’s happened that is troublesome in recent years. A lot of these issues are really, really hard, and there is in fact a growing divide here driven by a changing economy (automation more than trade deals), changes in media, and political self-interest (extreme gerrymandering). But, before Inauguration Day, we at least had someone at the top who, whether you agreed with his politics and policies, was thoughtful and tried to do what he thought would make people’s lives better home and abroad. Perhaps he missed from time to time and perhaps those with different politics will think his approach was counterproductive, but we at least could trust he thought through these difficult issues and hard decisions thinking about consequences. The current president is of course different. He neither cares nor understands the impact his words and policies can have. He has narrative about himself, his popularity, and his ability to save America, and he crafts policies and actions based on what will support his need for that narrative to be right. (For example, we’re going to build a stupid $20B wall because the idea came to this monster and was a nice catchphrase, not out any sort of analysis about border security goals and the trade-offs of the various ways to reach them.)

        • You forgot “appointing your children to positions of public power” and “influencing legislation that helps you and your family at a direct cost to others”.

      • Isn’t authoritarianism more of a continuum, though? Just because we’re not at full-on Kazakhstan levels doesn’t mean recent developments aren’t alarming.

      • Don’t panic until the blood flows into the streets….or something.

      • You realize that the “the offing journalists and political enemies” is NOT step 1 in a fascist dictatorship, right? Authoritarianism starts somewhere. Those in power test the waters with small steps into fascism to test the boundaries of the public and fellow politicians. Eventually, yes…you do have blood running in the streets. And people look around and think “how did we get here??”

        • Yep, for sure. And I’m not saying trump isn’t crazy enough to lean that way. We still have a lot of democratic checks on the local, state, and federal level though. I’m not saying it could never happen, but it’s nuts to say that right now we’re on the verge of slipping into authoritarianism. There are enough problems to actually worry about now, so best to keep your feet on the ground.

  • Trump’s election has been TERRIBLE for the mental health of this country. So many family members and friends are constantly anxious by his beligerence and unhinged behavior. A President should bring people together and assuage their fears. By this metric Trump is already a failure.
    And frankly this is a Republican problem. Why are Republican administrations so insistent on damaging and invading the personal lives of their fellow Americans? It boggles my mind, considering they wrap themselves in the Constitution. How can we get Republicans into therapy so they can stop acting like schizophrenic grifters?

    • While I don’t like to play into the “bubble” argument, the fact of the matter is right now, his approval ratings may stink for the position he is in – but 40% of Americans still support the guy. There are plenty of nutjobs that support him – but I also know a lot of normal people that do. It’s like Wisconsin on election night – the people that barely swung that state to Trump were people who voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012. While Trump has a lot of dark overtones surrounding his plans – if you live in rural Wisconsin and watch short clips on local news, his overarching message sounds positive and something to latch onto. Most people are not as in-tune as we are in this area to politics.

      • dcgator

        Yes, but many of those people are in their own “bubble,” which likely is much more myopic and less informed than our coastal/big cities bubbles. THAT’S the real disconnect.

        • Exactly – it goes both ways. But somehow criticizing someone for being in an urban bubble is ok, but it’s an insult to criticize rural voters.
          But the reality is that the people who helped Trump win in Wisconsin, Michigan, PA – they were people who didn’t get touched by Democrats in the election. I’m not gonna go down the rabbit hole of Friday quarterbacking the election since we’re so far off from election day – but Democrats didn’t “go” into these areas and instead wanted to make gains in states that aren’t quite there like Georgia and Arizona. It’s no secret that if Clinton just shored up most of Obama’s states, she could win – even without Florida, NC and Ohio. If they just spent half the time they spent in those three states in PA, MI and Wisconsin, she’d probably be president. That being said, it’s not as black and white as that (there are other factors involving other elections going on – obviously a dream was to also unseat McCain), but people just need to feel connected more – and by ignoring states like Wisconsin AND Iowa (the states border each other), they never felt like they were being listened to. And it’s very exciting to have the opportunity of new targets. But looking at 2012 – Clinton was likely not going to outperform Obama and he lost NC (closely, but not that close) and barely won Florida.
          I think one very interesting tidbit out of it that very few people reference is that Minnesota was only won by Clinton by 1% point. I think assuming states are safe is going to be torn out of the playbook from now on – especially when factoring in demographics.

        • Nailed it. The election and its immediate aftermath pissed me off in a lot of ways, but none moreso than the “Well you dumb coastal elites are in a bubble, you don’t know REAL America!” narrative, which was in part advanced by gullible progressive writers who should have known better. To hear that “you’re in a bubble” attack come from people (or on behalf of people) who live in areas that are 99% white, 95% Christian, 99% straight (at least as far as the neighbors know), and with a vast majority of people who have never lived anywhere but within 100 miles of where they were born… the cognitive dissonance is infuriating. Makes me want to punch a Richard Spencer.

  • I have the same feelings you do, Dan.

    Nothing has been better for me personally, but I think we may already be across the rubicon on changes that bring us within a hairs width of authoritarianism. The American experiment had a good run, but looking at world history, many of the worst case scenarios over the next decade are hardly unprecedented.

    I’m at about 50/50 that the country doesn’t survive and at about 75% that our power diminishes so much that we are more like France or U.K. with China rising with Russia as their main ally and several undesirables forming a NATO like alliance. The days of western economic and military hegemony could very well be over.

    • Not commenting on the end of the American Experiment (though I would recommend everyone, on the 30th anniversary of its publication, go read Paul Kennedy’s Rise and Fall of the Great Powers, as well as Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire), this, “China rising with Russia as their main ally” is not happening. Or if is does, the alliance will be short-lived and end in a truly horrific fashion. Historic enemies that share a border (though less of one now – I would hate to be Kazakhstan and Mongolia), with long cultural and ethnic histories of holding grudges.
      On that cheery note, I leave you with this:
      Jesus, everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.”
      – Brian Flanagan, “Cocktail” (1988)

      • Eh. I think China becomes top dog and Russia becomes their number 2. Money and power talk and just like Europe can get over all their centuries old grievances, I don’t see Russia and China, if they have the opportunity to lead and shape the world, that they squabble over old wars.

        It will be a marriage of convenience,for sure, but Russia is in over their head economically already and can’t reasonably expect to be the sole global power or the main adversary to the global hegemon. They get to be the western hegemon under a china as top dog world order and I think that’s all they’ve ever wanted.

  • Tsar of Truxton

    I feel mostly sad for society in general. I feel sad for the people who will be most impacted by Trump’s/GOP’s policies and sad that there is so much hate in our country right now (and this is on both sides). Things are not going well no matter what side you are on.

  • I am beyond terrified and have been really struggling between what I feel is a moral imperative to stay informed /speak out and feeling like I need to preserve my mental health by disengaging. I got an email from SURJ-DC last night that really helped me put this into perspective. One of their tips that I intend to follow is: Practice self care: Self care does NOT mean avoiding engaging in difficult things at all because you are overwhelmed – that is a privilege we can’t afford. It means feeding what I’ve heard Angela Davis refer to our “reservoirs of hope,” recognizing beauty and triumph, taking breaks, and bringing love to our work.

    • Kharr89, your first sentence describes exactly what I’ve been struggling with. Don’t know yet how to balance it.

    • Yes, I think your first sentence describes my situation exactly. This has been terrible for my mental health. I can’t sleep and I wake up every morning groggy and terrified.

  • My feelings go up and down. The march was really something i needed, but didn’t realize it. I have felt a bit more energized since. there is a tax march on April 15th… i doubt that will lead trump to release his tax returns, but oh well……gotta do what i can. I notice Conan O’ Brien is going to Mexico to do one show and i thought “that is sad. a damn comedian is doing more for peace between the U.S. and Mexico than our new leader….” the aliens need to hurry up and invade. at this point, I would welcome them and beg me to take me with them. LMAO

  • Like most people here, I’ve been pretty depressed and enraged about the state of affairs ever since the election. I read an article this morning about the administration’s intent to use the refugee moratorium to come up with a plan that prioritizes Christian refugees suffering from religious persecution over other refugees, and it just completely sent me over the edge. I’m devastated and terrified for our country and for the people he is steamrolling. And I’m feeling pretty hopeless and helpless. I appreciate others’ tips and pointers about trying to stay sane while still fighting. Please keep them coming!

  • Lexapro is my friend.

  • Tom

    I’m with you, Dan. Personally, I’m doing great in the here and the now—maybe ask me again in 5, 10, 15 years. But I must admit my emotions are kind of all over the place, and especially since a huge chunk of the country has a body of legitimate reasons to feel scared, threatened, and angry. I’m worried about the shortsighted, divisive and at times just straight-up hateful rhetoric I’ve been hearing so much of lately. I am not a magician, nor can I predict what will happen in the future, but I’m sticking to my guiding mantra of “be well, do good, and cultivate a pure and open mind” in the hopes that I can persuade those who don’t share that sentiment to follow my example. (My optimism is quite insufferable, isn’t it?)
    Also, a very close-to-home victory: My lovely lady is getting sworn in as a full-on U.S. citizen on Tuesday! She’s a Jamaican immigrant, and we were uneasy, for lack of a better word, when she didn’t get the letter before the 20th. (It arrived on the 21st.) I kept trying to convince her that since she passed the test, it was just a matter of moving some paperwork; that she was all but a shoo-in for citizenship, but I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t at least a little scared. It was nice to breathe a sigh of relief in uncertain times.

  • skj84

    I am a naturally anxious person to begin with. I feel like in addition to my usually anxiety, there is this unwavering undercurrent of uneasiness that i’ve never had before. I’m really trying to focus on self care at this point, and that’s including blocking out the news. Yes I want to be informed, but I’m going to literally drive myself crazy. Figuring out how to proceed. Trying to focus on the good in the world and in human beings. Keeping myself busy with projects keeps my mind off of things, its all I can do right now.

    • Every word of this. I’m in this vicious cycle where I consume too much news and get completely overwhelmed, then cut myself off to try and regain some sanity, but before long the anxiety about what terrible things I might be missing out on by not keeping up starts to get just as bad as the anxiety caused by the terrible things themselves. Not great, Bob!

  • Let’s just say I’ll be refilling my Xanax prescription refilled before they gut healthcare. It’s honestly been far worse than I imagined, and it’s not like I had high hopes for it. I also think I’ve drank more in this past week than I have in the rest of January as a whole, which is a vicious cycle etc etc.

    As for happiness, I find that putting on a face mask and watching something mindless or something that makes you laugh out loud does wonders (Billy on the Street does it for me).

  • Gut-wrenchingly anxious and terrified about the state of the nation, but grateful for a very happy and comfortable personal life: great family, good job, recovery, and a deep stack of books by my nightstand. So I can’t choose one number.

  • I think we may have just about reached “peak DC” (hate to say it as I live in and am invested in DC, and maybe overly focused on risks, and hope to be proven wrong). I suspect a) jobs will decline due to fed job freezing or even slashing, b) people will leave DC and/or not move here as eagerly due to losing its cool factor (simply a more popular place to be with Obama versus Trump), c) trade wars, tariffs, and confrontation with other countries will impact foreign investment into DC (as well as foreign capital controls such as recent clamp downs in China slowing real estate buying around the world that DC benefitted from a bit), d) Feds may withhold some funding to DC due to sanctuary city issues, e) increasing DC budget constraints will impact education, infrastructure, crime control which will also lead to city losing some luster. Throw in any “major event” and of course then all kinds of scenarios come into play. As noted in another comment, if the Dems can get their act together, within 2 years some stabilizing influence can be brought into Congress (if we can survive that long!) and in 4 years can have a big shift away from where things are now headed. All this plus overall direction country *could* be headed (i.e., increased international conflicts and risk of ongoing domestic destabilization) are things that lead to practical contemplation. Otherwise feeling good!

  • Y’all have every right to be uneasy/scared/all-out terrifiedn whatever. But don’t lose sight of the fact that DC, like almost every major urban area, is an ultra-liberal bubble. A LOT of people in this country are optimistic about the Trump administration, and they aren’t crazy for feeling that way, just as you aren’t crazy for feeling so strongly on your side. Reading the comments here, you really would think that the man doesn’t have a mandate (which he does).

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Climate, Women’s/human/civil rights, access to healthcare – and so much more – all pierce bubbles easily. But yes I’m grateful to be living in a progressive DC as opposed to some other places. Though, I will not be complacent towards the risks we face.

      • But that’s my point: those are not majorly important issues to everyone. In DC and other progressive cities, sure. But a lot of Americans place more emphasis on jobs, immigration, Islamic extremism, tax cuts, etc. Again, try to think outside of your DC bubble.

        • Prince Of Petworth

          I went to university in Ohio – I’m well aware of opinions contrary to my own thanks. But I’ll also oppose a Muslim registry, blanket immigration bans, certain Supreme Court nominees, climate change deniers, those who deny civil rights and equality. On these I will not waver.

        • On one hand, I understand the base appeal of Trump, saying that he’s going to cut through the red tape and get things done, when the bureaucracy of government and the essential 50/50 split of legislators and the ridiculous influence of lobbyists means everything is bogged down in process. That said, while issues like human rights, climate change, etc. may not seem as important outside the “bubble,” that doesn’t mean they are not just as actually important to the same people ignoring them. Climate change may cause more air pollution in cities, but lack of potable water will be more quickly felt in landlocked states, etc. And we liberals like jobs (probably 90% of the reason we live in places where there are lots of jobs) and tax cuts (though we’re less willing to sacrifice basic needs of others to have a 2nd car). Another thing that I don’t get is why those who are so incredibly concerned about terrorism don’t trust that the most at-risk (like, say, New Yorkers or DCites) are capable of voting in the way that they think will keep them safest. In other words, if the most terrorism-likely cities are saying Trump is actually dangerous for us, why does Utah not trust that we actually know what we’re talking about and should perhaps be listened to on this topic?

      • I think DC is rather unique in terms of “bubbles”. Most other major cities (with exception of NYC/Boston) see at least 25%+ Republican (even Baltimore City + County = 30% Trump). Even DC’s surrounding counties didn’t hit 30% Trump.
        But I also think it goes both ways. Going around saying America’s cities are dangerous and such – well a lot of Americans live in rural areas and if they do not get exposed to people who live in the city, they are just as naive as those in “liberal bubbles”. The fact of the matter is that people’s struggles are not the same across the board. I was talking to someone about “sanctuary cities” yesterday and they didn’t understand why they even existed. Well, they’re also from a small town that doesn’t have many immigrants – and part of the reason why sanctuary cities have ballooned is because of legal complications that cities and counties don’t want to face, not to mention that law enforcement finds it more helpful to them to not have people “living in the shadows”. This person didn’t even think about that. They only thought of it as some war against anti-immigration.

    • He most certainly does NOT have a mandate. Get outta here with that. He lost the popular vote by 3 million people. Not including another 7 million(?) that voted third party and lets not forget 40% of the electorate did not even vote (but I would argue a majority of these people likely would’ve voted against him if they had).

      • How many states did he win? How many did Hillary win? You can’t lose at football and suddenly bemoan the fact that touchdowns are worth 6 pts and field goals worth 3. We all know how the system works, whether we like it or not.

        • States won is not how we determine president either. He certainly won the electoral college (no one here said otherwise) but that does not equal a mandate. To use language you understand calling it a mandate is like a football team losing big in every statistical category, eeking out a win and calling it a blowout.

      • Agreed that he does not have a a clear mandate, but also keep in mind that he played the game to win the electoral college. If the rules of the game were to win the popular vote, he may have played it differently (though who knows, with or without success).

        • HaileUnlikely

          This is an important point. I am not arguing here that he would have won the popular vote had winning the popular vote been the objective, but we don’t know what would have happened if winning the popular vote had been the objective, because it wasn’t.

          • Yeah – for example, he said he’d go to California and New York. Well it’s not like Clinton campaigned in either of those states either. And it’s not like she campaigned in Texas.
            But yes, aside from the popular vote – this election was not a landslide as Trump describes it. It’s a pretty close election when looking at the overall history.

          • She actually did campaign in Texas – maybe not in person, but she went on the air in mid October, and spent a decent amount of money. (Money and resources that might have been spent more profitably in Wisconsin and Michigan.)

          • They never released how much they spent in Texas – and it takes a lot of money to get much in Texas because it is such a huge state. So it was actually probably an insigificant ad buy, but alas, we’re not really getting anywhere other than agreeing that the money spent in Texas, Arizona, Georgia, etc. was probably more effective going to solidify your standing in Democratic friendly states that don’t have a ton of diversity and are labor-heavy.

        • Seriously? He would never have won in CA or urban centers. Where would he have found those votes? This is a handy talking point, but it does not reflect reality – especially given how obsessed he is with the popular vote.

          • But that’s the point – he didn’t have to “win” in CA. Winning a state is irrelevant under the popular vote framework. I do believe the final totals would have changed if the popular vote was the one that matters. Whether there would have been enough to make a difference is anyone’s guess.

      • Agreed with zindc. You can’t describe someone who lost the popular vote and won the electoral college 306 to 232 as having a “mandate.”

    • Just because a lot of people feel optimistic doesn’t mean it isn’t crazy. We have a totally ignorant president with authoritarian tendencies making it up as he goes, and he’s making up his own facts to boot. If you’re optimistic about that YES YOU ARE CRAZY regardless of who you are surrounded by.

      • Correct. Just because people are spoiling for a trade war with China, want to retreat from the world, and block Muslims and Mexicans from entering doesn’t make them objectively good policies. Facts aren’t two sided and we don’t continue being the leader of the free world and a shining city on the hill if we shut ourselves off in pretty much every way possible.

        So a bunch of low information people thinking something is a good idea doesn’t make it so. Sometimes they are right, but not this time.

    • You’re totally right–it’s only the ULTRA-LIBERALS (you should have used scare quotes around that, by the way) who are from a bubble. Nope, no Trump supporters from rural or rich suburban areas are in bubbles. No sir, not at all. And like you say, those same Trump supporters are optimistic! Well, by all means. I wouldn’t want to take that away from them. I hope they enjoy their optimism that is based on…. well, Obama isn’t in the White House anymore, and, uh, we’re going to put America first or something… yeah, that sounds good.

    • You have it backwards, it’s the folks in the rural and non-urban areas who are the bubble, not the folks living around cities who witness the diversity of our country every day and understand that there are needs out there to be met for many, and many of those needs will be different then their own. Because of the electoral college and a dash of voter suppression, the bubble got to pick the President but that is in not representative of our entire country minus a few “elites.” The GOP is masterful at spin, though, so much so that some progressives accepted their narrative, so I can understand how the confusion comes in.

      • HaileUnlikely

        Both in bubbles, just different bubbles. I think a lot of us liberal city-dwellers negate the ostensible benefit of the visible diversity around us by isolating ourselves in bubbles with minimal diversity of thought and dismissing opinions and points of view that we don’t value. How else do you explain how almost none of us believed that Trump could possibly win until about 8 or 9 PM on election night and then collectively sh!t our pants? Despite all of the talk about diversity and all, we rendered ourselves completely blind to what roughly half the country was thinking because we were too busy carrying on in our bubble.

    • Huh, those ultra-liberal ‘bubbles’ voted in larger numbers for the candidate who wasn’t Trump. So while “A LOT” of people are optimistic about Trump, there are almost 3 million more who weren’t so keen on the guy. We can both acknowledge he won the election while still pointing out he had lower support overall among voters and has the approval of less than a third of them in recent polls. Let’s not mistaken intensity of feeling among a frothy few with some kind of mandate.

  • It seems like this largely depends on how optimistic you were before the election. I feel somewhat invigorated and not because I feel like I’m on the winning side of anything. This has always been a deeply troubled country (world), with deep strains of racism, intolerance, homophobia, economic strife, nationalism, greed, inequality, selective belief in facts, egomania, ignorance, etc, etc. It’s also always been a country that stumbles two steps forward and half a step back in its best moments, but two steps forward and three steps back in its worst. We should expect lurches backwards will happen in life (in politics, in our careers, our health, in the Dow too). We’re not all going to be okay. The only thing I really know for sure is that when people give up and turn out their lights the world gets even darker. It’s precisely because nothing is guaranteed that it’s the more meaningful to leave the light on and fight for it.

    • Great sentiment and perspective.
      Another vein in that fatalistic arm is that things have to get worse before they can get better. I think many people are genuinely concerned about how the world/country will fare during this most challenging stress test with all of civilization hanging in the balance, or maybe just the rights of illegal immigrants, LGBT, women, black people, Muslims, etc. Which is a lot of people even in a best case scenario, in a worst case scenario is it literally every person on the planet.
      If we are able to come out the other side of this bloodied but unbowed I think it may actually be a net good, but it is going to be a fine line to walk, we need some catastrophe or near catastrophe to wake up the sleepers, but if it is too big it could play out very badly for us all (war with China for example) but if things don’t go badly enough, people won’t learn a thing. Arguably even if they do people won’t learn, Trump reminds me a lot of Bush II except Bush II wasn’t a jerk. But they both are too decisive and uninformed/informed by a bunch of nihilists who are manipulating them.

  • I’m pretty uneasy these days. Just found out I’m pregnant and am having deep feelings of irresponsibility that I knowingly procreated (not an accident) after the election and will be bringing a life into whatever world we have left in nine months. I’m sure it’s just hormones, right?

  • I voted for decent.

    My actual sentiment today is terrified.

    But I’m a white, straight, middle class male homeowner with a relatively secure job, dual UK/US citizenship and a rental property in Scotland. Voting “terrified” would be demeaning to those millions and millions of people whose way of life and personal security is genuinely under threat.

    I guess I’m terrified for my country, but grateful that I have stability in my life and options should it all go horribly wrong.

  • We are definitely losing health insurance as soon as ACA gets repealed and my husband has MS so that’s fun for us.

    • Oh F*. I am so, so sorry.

    • Really sorry to hear that, but you heard House Republicans–they’re going to replace it with something EVEN BETTER (for insurance companies and people who are generally healthy and don’t depend on their insurance for much at the moment). So that’s good! (And sincerely, sorry for turning your crappy situation into a joke. It’s how I deal with my rage.)

  • I’m a white, middle class woman living in a solid blue with a relatively liberal Republican governor. On the surface, I know that I will be ok, my children will be ok. My job is secure and would actually benefit from Trump policies. My SO is in a more precarious situation job wise, but I don’t think there will be long term effects and I think that as a white male, he’s going to be golden no matter what.
    Where my unease comes in is that I am not living in a bubble. I genuinely fear for friends who are not as lucky to be born into an automatic place of privilege. I am gravely concerned for my friends who live in DC as I think this president and congress are about to have their way with the city and it’s residents. I fear for our country and our place internationally. I fear for women’s rights, minority rights, and immigrants. I do not trust this president or this congress at all.

  • What could possibly go wrong with Chance the gardner at the helm?

  • Accountering

    Every day it gets worse, and it has so far been much worse than I expected. This vile man is going to be a horrendous president. The fact that he is in the news for something ridiculous 5 times a day is even more frustrating.

  • I am really worried that the environment will never recover from the damage that the Trumpsters will inflict. We already have reached the point of no return with global warming, but personally, I like clean air and clean water. I don’t know about you. So count me as terrified.

  • Terrified at the thought of the thousands of women and children around the world (and possibly at home) who will die without healthcare.
    Terrified at the thought that a 20% tax will basically guarantee produce exists only for the upper classes.
    Uneasy at my liberal friends who are already censoring themselves “just to be safe” or “polite”.
    Terrifird by all the people who don’t care about the thousands of Iraqi and Afghani soldiers, interpreters etc still waiting on visas.
    Uneasy that people are so ambivalent about losing all faith in the media.
    Terrified that this is all somehow worse than I feared it would be.
    Uneasy about the almost certain collapse of the stock market to come that will wipe out all our investments. We have healthy 401ks and conservative mutual funds, but for how long?

    Our jobs are safe. We just bought a house and are getting married this year. We’re supposed to be ecstatic but instead we’re just full of dread.

    • “Terrified at the thought that a 20% tax will basically guarantee produce exists only for the upper classes.”
      This is a real, significant concern. The one silver liming might be to move some US farmers away from producing commodity crops like corn and soybeans.

  • Realistically I vacillate between utter terror and something slightly more resolute. I’m trying to focus on the people who will be most affected by this, many of whom are my friends and family. Since I have no voting rights as a DC resident I’m focused on caring for the people in my life who are are visibility, identifiably members of groups who are targeted.

    Realistically, like most people working in international development, I have a fair amount of anxiety about the long term viability of my career path. I’m too far in to easily pivot to something else, because my skills and experience have become increasingly specialized over the past 15 years. At the same time I’m still ~30 years from Medicare eligibility so I’m looking at the possibility of having to cobble together a second career path in a saturated job market and in which funding for social services in the areas of my expertise are slashed to oblivion. And really I expect that I would survive all that so I’m not actually that concerned about myself, but it’s wearing at me, especially as a manager who is trying to put on a positive face for my staff every day right now.

  • I’m feeling anxious about the state of the world, but relieved that we decided to move to Canada 15 months ago. I really appreciate the healthcare here and how much is covered. However, I just feel sad when I think about all the progress we made under Obama and now it feels like it’s all going to be reversed. People said to give him a chance, but jesus one week in he’s pretty terrifying.

  • I’m terrified at what’s happening in government, but feeling pretty good about life generally, and I WORK in government (Congress, but still). Yes, the state of affairs is scary, but I’m educated, have a decent nest egg, quickly dwindling debt, and no dependents. If things got bad and I wanted to blow this popsicle stand, I have decent options available to me. So while I worry about what’s going to happen, I can definitely compartmentalize. Doesn’t mean I’m not doing my part to fight against this maniac, but I don’t let that creep into my personal life.

  • If you didn’t click “terrified” you aren’t paying close enough attention to what’s going on. If you clicked “great” you’re either an idiot or heavily medicated. I’m hoping to make the transition from 1 to 5 after a trip to my doctor.

  • Blithe

    I’m terrified. I’m terrified that the world’s safety — and my personal well-being — are in the hands of someone who appears to be erratic, impulsive and unhinged, with no apparent interest in assessing or moderating the consequences of his behavior. I’m extremely concerned about his policies — both what I know of them — and my sense that any of them could change and change again at any given moment.
    -As an African American, the reality of eroding civil rights and personal options is very real for me, as is the knowledge that as the court system changes, there will be little if anything to enforce existing legal protections of our civil rights. Segregation and discrimination are very real parts of my life — and it’s very easy to see how, without the consistent support of the courts and the overall societal sense that racism and discrimination are wrong and Un-American, we could easily slide back to the times when America only offered the possibilities of Greatness or even basic opportunities to some of us. And terror is a part of this. As people worry about their own individual and family needs, the push to focus on the needs of others beyond their tribes decreases, particularly if the issues do not affect them/us personally.
    – Personally, I’m very much okay for now, but I’ve already used a lot of the resources that I had stocked away for a rainy day for a personal period of stress and upheaval, that left me extremely grateful for the New Deal policies and gains of the Civil Rights era that had a clear impact on the resources that were available for my parents when they, and I, needed them. I feel very much on my own, and terrified about the future. For a variety of reasons, I will not have many of the resources — including family support — that my parents had. If my needs mirror theirs, I’ll be shit out of luck on multiple levels.
    – An additional source of stress is when I’m told not to worry, or not to take all this so personally — by people who, themselves, have far less reason to worry than I do. The David Brooks’s of the world need to get that while they are uncomfortably battling colds, some of us are not only battling pneumonia, but are doing so while we watch our access to antibiotics dwindle with every tweet, to the apparent delight of many of the politicians who have the power to determine our future.

  • We have a president who thinks it’s ok to hush people on social media if they don’t agree with his policies – that’s what people in China have to deal with – that’s NOT a democracy. Why can HE tweet whatever the F%&* he wants but our national parks can’t? I absolutely hate the fact I have to live in America the next four years with such a whiney, idiotic man as our president..

  • One thing I’ve been thinking of as a source of light right now is how proud I am of our city. As I walk down the streets past windows still lined with Women’s March signs, protest despicable policies with hundreds of people at a moment’s notice, and read rogue government accounts likely run by our neighbors, I’m struck that the resistance is here and this city of smart, engaged people is on the front lines. The swamp monsters in Congress have been imported from other parts of the country. DC citizens, despite our lack of voting representation in a Congress that wants to trample our autonomy, are in a position to make sure the people in the rest of the country see the truth of what goes on in the federal government and to make sure that the federal government sees the people on their doorstep to know we are watching and we dissent.

  • I left Washington for an overseas opportunity two weeks before Election Day. While my friends tell me how lucky I am, it is a double edged sword. For all of those considering leaving, being outside the beltway does not make it better. I firmly believe that from half a world away it is worse. You are no longer in a position to have any impact at all, you are forced to simply observe from the sideline.

    Living and working in the District provides all of you the opportunity to challenge and change the status quo in ways few people are able. Fight like hell, the world is counting on all of you.

  • Ally

    I am terrified. My brother, who has a pre-existing condition, has Obamacare, and is in danger of not being able to get any health insurance. He is also gay. I am bisexual. We’ll see how long our rights last. I have many Muslim friends, none of whom feel safe anymore here. I’m reading story after story about wonderful people (a teen from Syria who had just been accepted to MIT, but who now can’t go) being turned away. It is a scary time to be in this country. I have worked for the federal government for over 15 years and this is the worst I have seen morale. I’d just hired a new intern who was mid-move from another state when the hiring freeze happened; now we can’t hire him. I have a wonderful 2-year-old son who I would normally be showing the White House and Capitol to; I instead plan to just wait for 4 years so he can hopefully see something better. I knew Trump was going to be bad. I had no idea he was going to be THIS bad so quickly.

    • Ally

      Not to mention (and I am mildly joking here because we can all use a little humor here), because of gerbil-face’s Wall, I will now no longer be able to afford my glorious avocados from Mexico.

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