Polarized and Coping

Is it just me, or is the world becoming more and more polarized?  At least here in the U.S., people are at odds with each other.  It doesn’t even seem to matter what the subject is either.  This is not going to be a political post.  The left and right don’t agree on anything.  It’s not been this bad before in my lifetime.  There is rioting in the streets.  People doing all kinds of things trying to get their voice heard.  I do remember seeing the riots at Berkley the sixties; I believe they were about the anti-war movement and freedom of speech back then.  Today they’re rioting again.  This time I think anti- and pro- Donald Trump people are at serious odds with each other.  Don’t even get me started on the Muslim, Christian, Catholics and probably others who have serious issues.

With all that is going on I am unable to read the newspaper, watch the news on TV or take part in conversations (debates) at work.  Here’s the problem, I suffer from bipolar disorder, major depression, social and general anxiety.  When I witness the clashes between the two sides it can send me into a dangerous spiral, up or down.  I already take medications daily to remain even keeled during normal days.  In these difficult times, they aren’t working nearly as well.  I don’t really have options.  I am taking the maximum dosage of the three main medications.  Additionally, I live alone now.  There is no one to help me monitor my emotional levels.  During normal times, I can tell when I’m leaning toward mania or depression.  But when I’m on edge it can go either way without warning.  Either direction is not a pretty sight.  Have you ever watched the Incredible Hulk?  Yeah that’s what it’s like.

I’m trying to maintain in the middle of the spectrum, but it is hard.  Here’s some of the measures I have taken over the past month or so to ease the anxiety and bipolar symptoms.  These measures may seem extreme, but it is about survival for me.  Here is a list of things I have done, and do to cope:

  • I am careful choosing what I watch on TV. I haven’t been watching, my favorite, suspenseful movies and TV shows with a lot of twists and turns.
  • I don’t read the newspaper.  I must admit I skim the headlines on Google News.  I mostly stay away from politics and religion in the news.
  • I closed my Facebook personal account and my business page.  I’ve considered doing this for a while, and thought this is as good a time as any to stop.  Some people are just wicked.
  • I closed Twitter as well.  It is just too tempting to fire off a fast response in 140 characters or less.  Oh is it temping.
  • I still have an Instagram account. It is pretty laid back.  I don’t feel I must check it every time my phone chimes.  Facebook and Twitter were almost impossible for me to pull away from.
  • I resurrected my dimdaze.com (this) blog. It takes time and thought for me to bang out a post.  So it helps me keep my mind off things except whatever topic I’m writing about.
  • I am careful not to join in on conversations at work that sound like debates. This isn’t that big of a deal.  I have some good coworkers and full control over my schedule, I can come and go as I please if I get my projects and tasks done in a timely fashion.  I enjoy being at work so I crank it out while I’m on the clock.  My work is always in before it’s due, I don’t spend much time just hanging out with people.
  • I try to go to bed and get up at the same times. I also try to keep my day predictable.  Some say I can be a boring.  I’m funny, doesn’t that count for something?

Do these measures sound extreme?  What are some of the things you’ve done to maintain during times that are stressful for you?  I’m open to any ideas you may have that will help.  Feel free to respond to the post, maybe you do something that will help someone else.