Like everyone else, I’ve watched the debate over the so-called fiscal cliff with a combination of disgust and anxiety. I can’t remember a time when the nation’s economic health was so threatened by political partisanship.
It threatens our jobs and our ability to feed our families. And it’s a threat to our mental health.
I feel fortunate that this shit is happening now. Up until a few years ago, this type of thing would have left me lying in a fetal position on the couch, with so much anxiety and fear over economic calamity that I’d be unable to function. I’d eventually get up from the couch and go to work, but my brain would continue spinning and I’d carry on like a zombie.
I’ve made enough progress on my mental health in recent years that I can put my worries on the shelf and carry on with life. I enjoyed the holiday break with my family instead of brooding in a corner the whole time. I’m grateful for that.
But I won’t bullshit you: I checked the various news sites online a lot more obsessively than I have in a long time. I worried about this a little bit more than other recent political battles, including the 2011 debt ceiling fiasco.
When there’s this much drama and suspense in Washington, it can’t help but fuck with your psyche after a while.
I can still get on with life, but I have no doubt there are plenty of people out there who can’t. They feel like their very lives will depend on what happens in Washington. I remember that feeling all too well.
I feel for those people, and I pray for them.
But more than anything else, right now, I feel anger. And I suspect that most other Americans do, too.
Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer as to what we can do about this national threat to mental health. One easy answer would be to throw all the bums out, but we keep re-electing the people who cause the problems. Another easy answer would be to crack down on the special interest groups that corrupt politicians with money, but where do you start?
The best way to deal with it is to control what we can control in our daily lives. I got help for my addictions and mental defects, and that at least gets me through these storms.
I truly think that’s about all you can do.